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Motivators and Consequences of Moralization Across the Political Spectrum

Nina Wang (University of Regina) will present her work about moral rhetoric of U.S. political elites during this AxPo & médialab joint seminar.

Rendez-vous, Séminaire de recherche

Salle K.008, 1 Place St-Thomas d'Aquin, 75007 Paris


"When do politicians moralize, and what consequences does moralization have? I combine language analysis techniques and experimental manipulations to measure the moral rhetoric of U.S. political elites and test the consequences of this moral rhetoric. I draw upon the literature on Moral Foundations Theory and social identity theory and use techniques from natural language processing to measure the moral rhetoric expressed in language on Twitter and in Congressional speeches. I demonstrate that politicians moralize more in Congress when they are in the political minority, and that moral rhetoric, particularly negatively valenced moral rhetoric, diffuses more widely on Twitter. I also present experimental evidence that moral rhetoric can affect affective polarization and motivate political actions, and that positive and negative moral rhetoric may have distinct downstream consequences on attitudes and beliefs."


Nina Wang received her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto, and is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Regina. She use techniques from Natural Language Processing to study issues in moral and political psychology. She is interested in the ways moral language is deployed by politicians and surrounding social issues, and the role of social media in driving polarization and spreading misinformation.

Practical info

The seminar will be held on the Sciences Po campus, located 1 place Saint Thomas d'Aquin (Room K.008), 75007 Paris.

Mandatory registration.